MELBOURNE, Australia — Judith Durham, Australia’s folk music icon who achieved global fame as the lead singer of The Seekers, has died. She was 79.
Durham died at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne on Friday night after suffering complications from a long-term lung condition, Universal Music Australia and Musicoast said in a statement on Saturday.
She made her first recording at 19 and rose to fame after joining The Seekers in 1963. The group of four became the first Australian band to achieve major chart and sales success in the UK and US, eventually selling 50 million records .
International hits include ‘The Carnival is Over’, ‘I’ll Never Find Another You’, ‘A World of Our Own’ and ‘Georgy Girl’.
Durham embarked on a solo career in 1968, but recorded with The Seekers again in the 1990s.
“This is a sad day for Judith’s family, her fellow Seekers, Musicoast staff, the music industry and fans worldwide, and all of us who have been a part of Judith’s life for so long,” said The Seekers’ board member Graham Simpson.
Her bandmates in The Seekers – Keith Potger, Bruce Woodley and Athol Guy – said their lives had been changed forever by losing “our precious lifelong friend and shining star”.
“Her struggle was intense and heroic, she never complained about her fate and fully accepted its conclusion. Her magnificent musical legacy Keith, Bruce and I are so blessed to share,” they said.
Tributes poured in for the beloved singer, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese describing Durham as “a national treasure and an Australian icon.”
“Judith Durham gave voice to a new part of our identity and helped pave the way for a new generation of Aussie artists,” Albanese wrote on Twitter. “Her kindness will be missed by many, the anthems she gave to our nation will never be forgotten.”
In her home state of Victoria, Premier Dan Andrews said Durham had taken the music world by storm both in Australia and overseas.
“With his unique voice and stage presence leading The Seekers, the band became one of Australia’s biggest chart-toppers,” he said.